Monique Little of You Go Natural on the importance of planning for growth
Describe You Go Natural in a few words?
YGN creates beautiful and innovative products that make natural haircare easier.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I started my business because there was a need in the market that needed to be filled. I did not want to let the opportunity pass, so I created the product myself.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I studied Economics in college, but also took fashion merchandising courses. After college I ended up in account management for large supply chain companies.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, I have always had a desire to build and run my own business, and growing up, I always dreamt ways to create things and sell them.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Having very little money for marketing, I really relied on social media and word of mouth to grow my business. I mainly grew my community on Instagram, and really just built our audience organically.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
When we first started, we did not have money for inventory, so we would make product to order. This meant there was no limit to the number of orders we could receive. While this allowed us to scale our business naturally, it also caused lots of delays and customer service issues. From this I learned that while it’s great to think outside the box and work around limitations, it’s also important to plan for the growth that will come.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
In 2020, I took a leap of faith and opened a small warehouse and production facility in Dallas. The idea was to bring all operations in-house to better control quality, supply, and the customer experience. We started with a 1500 sq. ft. building and in just 12 months have expanded into an 8000 soft space with over 70 employees.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
“What are the most common misconceptions about you?” I really like to be clear about our brand values and only hire towards those values, so any questions I can ask to get to the core of a person’s story are where I like to steer the conversation.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Unfortunately, Covid has hit the US supply chain hard. From increased pricing to delayed shipments we have really had to be creative and roll with the punches this year.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Now that we have our sea legs, and the infrastructure to fill orders reliably, we are continuing to expand on our product offering by creating new and innovative products for our audience.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
One big lesson that I learned is that if you continue to work hard and trust in your own ability, the breakthrough you’re waiting for could be right around the corner.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Every lesson that I learned along the way would have been much less useful if I didn’t learn by experience. I would not change a thing.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I now employ over 70 amazing people, who have committed their time to us and trusted us with their livelihood. Walking into the office and working hard alongside them every day is a daily humbling reminder of the work that still needs to be done.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means being a female entrepreneur and bringing a unique perspective to every table I join. I don’t often consider the work that I do from a solely female perspective, but every once in a while I am reminded that the position I am in is uncommon, and my perspective is valuable and unique.